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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
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Audiovox 5600 Smartphone Review
By Cheryl Wester, Copyright 2004
 Version 1.00  Revised 10/19/2004

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Iím in loveówith a phone.  I have never seen a phone that is as cool as this one is.  It has everything in it I could possibly want, and comes as close as anything does to having me think about giving up my Pocket PC Phone edition. (not yet-just thinking)

Overview

First of all the phone is slick.  It is a candy bar shape, small, and easy to hold.  The keys have a nice touch to them and I was comfortable in using the phone in just a short period of time. All the settings are correct and, right from the get go, I was able to connect to the Internet, use MMode, and download my email.   I set up three email accounts right away including an exchange server. All of my email accounts, MMS, and text messaging are in an area that is called messaging. This section is easy to use and a nice feature is that it allows me to control what I want to downloadóthe entire message, a certain amount of a message, or just the headers.  This is an excellent way to control the amount of data you use.  It allows me to have even more email accounts if I want them. What a great way to keep in touch with people.  Wherever I am I can connect to the Internet using GPRS and obtain my latest calendar information, update my contacts, and check my email.

The phone itself is awesome.  It has voice recognition that is phenomenal.  It recognized some very difficult names immediately.  It works easily with my Bluetooth headset and is easy to use.  I used the CallerID that is installed and quickly took some pictures to identify my callers!  As I get older this memory jog will definitely come in handy!

Windows Media Player 10

It is also the only SmartPhone that works flawlessly with Windows Media Player 10.  I purchased a 256 MB mini SD card and loaded it with music.  The card is installed under the battery and I really like that feature.  I think that just about everyone I know has lost a memory card and now I donít have to worry about it. This SmartPhone is made to work in conjunction with media edition computers.  I can record my favorite TV shows on my PC and load it on my card to watch on my phone!  I transferred a video I had converted using DVD to PPC and watched it as well.  A little too small for my taste, but it can be done.

Screen

The screen of the phone is clear.  With 65 bit color it makes reading email a pleasure.  The jog wheel is easy to use and a nice feature is being able to use the left and right arrows to go through my email and even to go to the next account.  The phone also has pre-defines text messages that you can customize to suit your needs.  I quickly have set one up to use with my kids.  This is a great way to save time.  You can enter text using the predictive text method (T9) and it helps you select words and even allows you to add words to the dictionary.  It also has the triple tap method of entering so it has something to suit everyoneís needs. You can of course insert a voice recording into a message.  This is very useful when you want to verbally explain something that is contained in a message. The phone will receive attachments but you can only open the file types that are supported by the phone.

MSN Messenger

An easy way to keep in touch with your friends and colleagues is using MSN Messenger.  On the SmartPhone it works in the same way as on your PC.  You can see the status of others on your Messenger contacts list, change your status, invite others to chat, and block people from sending you messages.  You need to sign on to use this and I like that it automatically does not connect. This way I can control when Iím in a chatty mood.  You use the same account as you use on your PC.

Camera's Video Feature

In addition to taking photos this phone even allows has a video feature.  Although Iím not personally into that my adult children found that to be one of the coolest features.  The camera allows you to change the capture mode, zoom, select the correct ambience for the pictures and decide where to save them. Photo message is quickly becoming a hot item and this phone allows that as well.  

The media services are wonderful on this phone.  Browsing the web while on the go has never been easier.  I have already used the Internet to use map quest, find out movie times, and check up on the latest news.  MMode, a feature of AT&T, also has some great features with sites made to use on a SmartPhone. Just like on my PC I can save favorite sites so I donít need to key them in each time I want to visit.

Games

Having a Microsoft operating system, it goes without saying that the phone has the regulation Solitaire game.  It also has Jawbreakeróa game I became addicted to on my Pocket PC.  The object of this game to clear the screen of your SmartPhone by selecting groups of colored balls and deleting them.  The more balls you can delete at the same time the higher your score is.  What a great way to waste time while waiting for someone.

Bluetooth and Infrared

Bluetooth and infrared are standard features on this phone.  Bluetooth allows you to pair your phone with another Bluetooth device such as a headset.  With all the laws on using phones in cars this is truly a great feature.  Infrared is a great way to transfer files between phones as well.

Task Manager

The phone comes with a Task Manager.  This allows you to see a list of open applications and close them to free up memory.  Space Maker is another program that allows you clean up the memory on your device and get rid of unnecessary emails, text messages, and temporary files.  It is a great way to monitor your memory usage and prevent your phone from running sluggish. 

Personalize It

The phone is easy to personalize.  You can customize the front using different themes and even take a picture and have it used as your front screen.  You can also customize the ring tones and have a different ring tone for each person that calls you.

Quick List

Another great feature is the Quick List.  All you do is tap the on/off button and a quick list appears.  It displays a list of options for when you need to change the way your phone operates.  I quickly learned to set the key lock so I donít accidentally call someone.  With a clam shell device you donít have that problem but on a candy bar style that is important.  With the automatic feature you never need to worry about your phone going off at an inappropriate time.  If you have an appointment in your calendar and your phone set to automatic it will go to vibrate during the meeting time. 

Calendar and Contacts

The calendar and contacts on this phone have the same basic layout as Outlook.  This information can originate on your PC or on your SmartPhone and when you sync it transfers over.  It is even smart enough to know what was entered last so the most current information is transferred. 

Conclusion

Iím not mentioning all of the phone connection features as a lot of that depends on what type of account you have with AT&T.  Check with them if you have specific questions concerning your account and pricing.  I will say that I think this is going to be one hot phone.  Every time I use it Iím giving a lesson on all the features.  The stores in my area canít seem to keep the phone in stock and several friends have ordered one on line.  I personally rate this phone a five on a five star rating.  Why donít you go to your nearest AT&T store ad try one out?  Iím sure you will be as pleased as I am.

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